Never too young to give back

Categories: Donor Stories

Meghan McCloat, 28, and Brooke Bento, 30, may be young, but they are already leaving their mark on the world of charitable giving.
Considered veterans of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center President’s Council, they joined at the tender ages of 25 and 24, respectively. Both jumped immediately into fundraising for the Center. Meghan co-chairs Pink Pledge, a month-long, community-wide awareness and fundraising campaign throughout October that kicks of with the “Stroll for Strength” march through streets of Fairfeld. Brooke organizes the Pink Pop-Up Party, an annual fundraising event that specifcally targets a younger demographic of philanthropists and young professionals.

Last year, the Pink Pop-Up Party netted more than $40,000. Pink Pledge, which involves fundraising and various events with more than 100 local merchants, restaurants, ftness centers, public and private schools, raised nearly $200,000. All proceeds are used to fund patient services and programs at the Breast Center.

As part of the “millennial generation,” Meghan and Brooke are breaking down preconceived notions of philanthropy. Young adults, who are just starting out in their careers and juggling student loan payments and other fnancial obligations, are ofen overlooked as being unlikely to give. Brooke and Meghan are determined to change that mindset.
“I think a lot of millennials believe they don’t have ‘enough’ to give, so they don’t do it. But it really is a truism that every dollar counts,” Meghan said. “When you come together as a community, a couple of $25 donations turn into a few hundred or a few thousand dollars if you spread the word and encourage friends to join you.”

“Every dollar adds up to help better people’s lives,” agreed Brooke.

One of the biggest advantages that young professionals have is their familiarity and savvy with using the newest technology to make an impact. Millennials are more likely to harness the power of social media and networking opportunities to generate contagious energy about a cause.

“I think a lot of millennials believe they don’t have ‘enough’ to give, so they don’t do it. But it really is a truism that every dollar counts,” Meghan said. “When you come together as a community, a couple of $25 donations turn into a few hundred or a few thousand dollars if you spread the word and encourage friends to join you.”

“Young professionals have a unique ability to leverage an organization into the next fundraising level based on their fresh and energetic skillset. Perhaps one of the best traits of a passionate young philanthropist is we generally tend to be fearless, which can go a long way when soliciting donations,”
said Meghan.

“I may not have the money to write a large check, but I might know people who can,” said Brooke. “And by spreading the word far and wide through my network, I can bring awareness, attention and focus on the Breast Center and the resources, programs and support it provides to patients.”

For both Meghan and Brooke, what unites them is a strong desire to have a measurable, enduring impact.

“I hope that with each dollar I give, and each hour I put into helping to develop these events and campaigns or soliciting new sponsors directly benefits even just one life. If one patient has one less thing to worry about during their treatment, our work and our philanthropy have succeeded,” said Meghan.

Added Brooke, “I hope that our efforts help the Norma Pfriem Breast Center continue to offer hope to women in a place that feels safe and supportive. What greater impact can you make in the world than helping to make people’s lives better?”